Sustainability flower

The overall idea of the Sustainability Flower is to create a common understanding of which aspects are crucial for sustainable development in the agricultural supply chain. It offers a pragmatic and scalable approach to assess, improve and communicate sustainable development performance of an organization based on nine dimensions (soil, plants, animals, energy, air, water and societal life, cultural life, as well as economic life).

Developed by food companies

It has been defined in January 2009 by a network of international organizations from the organic / biodynamic movement cooperating and exchanging experience under the umbrella of the „International Association of Partnership in Ecology and Trade” (IAP) including Ambootia [India], SEKEM [Egypt], Lebensbaum [Germany], Rapunzel [Germany], Eosta [The Netherlands], Alnatura [Germany], Sustainable Foods Trust [UK] and others.

Indicators on varying detail levels

The dimensions of the Sustainability Flower are structured in Performance and partly Sub-Performance-Aspects. For each of these aspects Performance Indicators have been defined that are applicable on varying detail levels (from hot spot to detailed analysis) and are aligned with internationally recognized standards and guidelines (GRI G4, SAFA (UN FAO), SOAAN (Ifoam), Economy for the Common Good). Find more details in the Sustainability Flower booklet (link at the bottom of this page).

The Sustainability Flower Tool

The implementation of the principles and indicators into management and communication is the responsibility of the implementing organizations. As a pragmatic and scalable approach the Sustainability Flower tool and an evaluation guideline has been developed and adapted for various scenarios by the Soil & More Foundation. The evaluation of the dimensions is emphasized by a traffic light rating system. The implementing organizations are free to use their own design for communication purposes or use the generic (more technical) one as provided by the Soil & More Foundation.

Simply to the point

In the last years, a lot of developments in the definition of “Sustainability” and its measurement have evolved from discussions in the different stakeholder groups of the global agriculture sector. Though the initiatives have very different backgrounds and goals the common understanding of what is sustainable in agriculture draws ever nearer. Still, the Sustainability Flower is unique in adding the cultural dimension and putting an emphasis on soil. It is the conviction of the IAP that without adding the human being as the driving force of development into the setting of a farm and soil as the basis of all agricultural activities the future of agriculture looks bleak.

Ownership of the Sustainability Flower

Since June 2012 the Soil & More Foundation have been given the ownership of the “Sustainability Flower”. The responsibilities assigned to the Soil & More Foundation in relation to the ownership of the Sustainability Flower are to further develop the sustainability assessment concept in regards to the assessment criteria and guidelines, tools and methodologies, communication frameworks as well as legalities such as membership structures and general administration.

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